How to Adopt from Nepal
Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare
The process for adopting a child from Nepal generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child in Nepal
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider:
For most prospective adoptive parents, the recommended first step in adopting a child is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website. However, Nepal requires all adoption applications (dossiers) to be submitted either by a Nepali approved international adoption service provider or through a foreign diplomatic mission (embassy) in Nepal.
While Nepali law permits authorized adoption service providers and foreign diplomatic missions to submit dossiers on behalf of prospective adoptive parents, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu cannot execute “cover letters” or submit dossier documents to the Ministry of Women and Child Social Welfare (MWCSW) on behalf of prospective adoptive parents. Accordingly, the only method available at this time to submit an application for adoption in Nepal is to engage an international adoption service provider that is accredited with MWCSW.
Before embarking on an adoption in Nepal, prospective adoptive parents are strongly urged to confirm with the MWCSW that their adoption service provider is currently authorized to facilitate adoptions in Nepal. Contact information for the MWCSW may be found on the Country Information Sheet for Nepal. A copy of the MWCSW’s current list of Nepali authorized foreign adoption service providers may be obtained by writing to the U.S. Embassy at email@example.com.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:
In order to adopt a child from Nepal, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Nepal and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare of Nepal.
You may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
Prospective adoptive parents sign many documents in the process of completing an adoption. Many of these documents are in Nepali, and English translations are not routinely provided. Parents are encouraged to have documents translated before they are signed. The U.S. Embassy requires both the original and the official translation of all case documents at the time of the immigrant visa interview. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the U.S. Embassy in Nepal at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of the required documents, which may differ depending on how the child became orphaned.
3. Be Matched with a Child:
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the Ministry of Women and Child Social Welfare will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
The child must be eligible for adoption according to Nepal’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
- ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is the adoption authority for the Government of Nepal and is responsible for, among other things, accepting and processing all applications for intercountry adoption, determining whether prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suitable to adopt a Nepali child, overseeing the matching of Nepali children by the Intercountry Adoption Management Committee with prospective adoptive parents, granting adoptions, and issuing the final adoption document.
- ROLE OF THE COURT: None.
- ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Adoption service providers that have been approved by the Government of Nepal to facilitate the processing of intercountry adoptions are responsible for, among other things, submitting the prospective adoptive parents’ dossier and other required documents through their local representative to the Ministry of Women and Child Social Welfare. They also provide the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu with any documents required in connection with the filing of either the prospective adoptive parents’ Form I-600 petition or immigrant visa application. Adoption service provides may also fill other significant roles during the adoption process.
- ADOPTION APPLICATION: The adoption application is submitted to the Nepal Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
- TIME FRAME: The process from the approval of the I-600A to the approval of the adoption by the Nepali government varies in length and is impossible to predict. Changes in the security situation or the government may cause additional delays.
- ADOPTION FEES: The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare charges a fee of $3,000 for the adoption of an orphan from Nepal. Orphanages charge a $5,000 fee. Many parents have reported that orphanages have charged them additional, unexpected fees once the parents arrive in Nepal. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid to orphanages, either by the parents directly or through their U.S. adoption service provider. The U.S. Embassy requires a copy of receipts and information on fees paid in the United States and in Nepal at the time of the immigrant visa interview.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The Nepal Government requires all prospective adoptive parents to complete and sign a "Guarantee Letter." This letter, which becomes part of the dossier that is submitted to the Ministry of Women and Child Social Welfare, serves to assure the Nepal government that the prospective adoptive parents have been approved by the U.S. government to be adoptive parents and that, if legally qualified, the child will be eligible to immigrate to the United States. To request the issuance of a Guarantee Letter, please email the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu at email@example.com and include the subject line, “Guarantee Letter Request” in your message. The full names of the prospective adoptive parents, dates of birth, passport numbers, and permanent legal address are required for inclusion in the Guarantee Letter. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu needs to have on file a valid, approved I-600A before it can issue a Guarantee Letter. At an unspecified time after accepting a referral, the Government of Nepal will issue a “travel authorization” letter to the prospective adoptive parents. It is only upon receipt of this “travel authorization” that the Government of Nepal will allow the prospective adoptive parent to complete the adoption. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
After you finalize the adoption in Nepal, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
6. Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete, you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
Adoptive parents must have the child’s original Nepali birth certificate. This will be the “Birth Registration Certificate” that is included in the child’s dossier for adoption that is kept on file at the child’s orphanage.
- 2. Nepali Travel Document
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Nepal. Once you have obtained a new birth certificate, you need to obtain a travel document for your child through Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally, the Nepali travel document is valid only for one-way travel to the United States and countries en route. Please note that this is not a Nepali passport; the travel document is a limited document allowing passage only to the country where the adoptive parents reside.
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and Nepali travel document for your child, and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.
You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu’s website.
NOTE: You must have an approved Form I-600 petition before an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa may be issued. You may file your Form I-600 petition at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, provided you have a valid, approved Form I-600A on record. Please refer to USCIS.gov for Special Instructions for How and When to File Adoption Petitions on Behalf of Nepali Children. U.S. citizens should make appointments with the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu by calling (977-1-400-7200) or emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance to enable prompt response to their inquiry. The Consular Section is open for routine American Citizen Services Monday through Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
U.S. Embassy Kathmandu accepts payments for consular services by cash in either U.S. dollars or Nepal rupees or by most credit cards. Payments are only accepted at the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu’s Consular Section and should not be paid to a third party.
Note: Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least three working days, and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should not make final travel arrangements before they receive the visa.
Prospective adoptive parents should also be aware that high levels of visa fraud in Nepal include fabricated documents and genuine documents fraudulently obtained. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu must carefully investigate all orphan visa cases to determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. The need for investigations may result in delays in the visa process. Cases deemed not clearly approvable by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu will be referred to the USCIS office in New Delhi, India for review.
Since there are no direct flights to the U.S. from Nepal, the U.S. Embassy recommends that adoptive parents confirm with the countries they plan to transit enroute to the U.S. regarding that country’s transit visa requirements, if any, for their Nepali child. Because the child will travel to the U.S. on a Nepali travel document (not a Nepali passport) visa requirements may vary from those of U.S. citizens.
To learn about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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